Musharraf-Vajpayee breakthrough -- by Ikram Azam Back   Home  
Despite the final 'inconclusive' outcome of the current Summit between the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf, according to our Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, the ice-breaking breakthrough has been made already. As such, the Summit is successful. This is indicated by the media reports on and the popular response to the parleys. The credit for the breakthrough goes to both sides equally, especially the two Heads of Government on either side. It all started with General Pervez Musharraf's oft-repeated offer of talks to India: 'anytime, anywhere and at any level' — on the core issue of Kashmir. His sincerity and persistence thawed all who mattered, and convinced them of the centrality of the Kashmir cause, and criticality of resolving the problem, amicably and justly, for normalising Indo-Pak relations, peacefully, and for regional peace, security and stability. Vajpayee responded positively by inviting President General Pervez Musharraf to India for a return Summit. The fact that he has accepted President Musharraf s invitation to visit Pakistan, is not just a matter of political propriety and protocol, as an apt response; it is also indicative of the sustainability of the breakthrough in future.

Self-democratising Musharraf: There is no doubt about the fact that General Pervez Musharraf today wields absolute power in Pakistan — especially military power. For he dons three powerful military caps: as the Chief of the Pak Army, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Committee, and the Chairman of the recently revived National Security Council. In addition, he wears two more caps of the Chief Executive and the President — taking the total to five. As the President of Pakistan, he is also the supreme commander of our armed forces.

When General Musharraf assumed the Presidency, the fear was openly expressed that this heady absolutist power might tip the balance in favour of military power, to the misuse of political power, as done by many of his civil and military predecessors. History very soon put him to the test with the Indo-Pak Summit. General Musharraf sagaciously opted for recent a futuristic political alternative — in that he consulted a wider ranging cross-section of popular political and public opinion, before leaving for New Delhi. Thus, he has himself not only obtained a popular mandate, but has also initiated the process of democratising himself — after getting politicised about two years ago on 12th October, 1999, with his counter-coup d'etat. And it was a counter-coup, since he ousted a General who had been illegally imposed to replace him in his absence, abroad.

A popular political Government: Let us hope that this Musharraf-style democratiotion will continue in the weeks that follow, by his gradually replacing his non-representative, technocrat with a more popular political national government so that party-based elections are organised by it next year, in respectful compliance with the Supreme Court verdict. That would be the best way to return Pakistan to a fully functional and operant Democracy. Thereafter, the President can join any political party of his choice that backs him, and restore the depoliticised professional status and role of the armed forces. President Musharraf can do this for he has proved himself as patriotic and nationalistic to the core — sincere, straightforward, open, frank and outspoken. These are his strongest points — as amply demonstrated during the Summit. He is also determinedly futuristic — a rare quality in Pakistan.

The Summit Symbology: Much positive and negative symbolism has emerged almost spontaneously in the recent Indo-Pak Summit. On the positive side is the two peoples' welcoming euphoria and media hype; and the speeches of the dignitaries. Also, Pakistan's policy of cautious optimism and the President's respectful visit to Gandhi Ji's Samadi. But negative symbols have not been lacking, at least on the Indian side, eg:

• The Bharati official media's adversarial attitude.

• The continuing killings and repression by the Indian army in Indian-held Kashmir.

• The Indian hallabaloo against the Pakistan High Commission's tea party invitation to the APHC leaders.

• And, as reported by the Pakistan Observer, Islamabad, of Monday 16th July, 2001:

(i) The refusal of the three Indian Services Chiefs to meet General Pervez Musharraf. This seems to be a deliberate tit-for-tat in retaliation to the Pak Service Chiefs' avoidance of Premier Vajpayee during his Lahore Yatra with the then Pakistani PM Mian Nawaz Sharif. Thus, the Indians don't forget and forgive easily, and can be quite spiteful. This is an Indian character trait which needs to be remembered. It is in stark contrast with Pakistan's magnanimous friendliness, verging at times, errantly, on appeasement.

(ii) The Mayor of Agra's unwelcome to General Musharraf, despite his official banquet or whatever. He was not offered the symbolic key of the Agra city, "in a bid to show solidarity with the widows of Kargil", some of whom are settled in Agra. Must Pakistan, then, forget its martyrs in Kargil, or the Kashmiri Shuhada by the lakhs — and allow the Mujahideen and Jehad to be maligned as 'Terrorists' and 'Terrorism'? The regrettable point is that none of the Pakistani officials and media-people in India and Pakistan — except President Musharraf, himself, in his meeting with the media — have had the courage and wisdom to challenge the charge. He correctly termed the Kashmiri Jehad as a 'Freedom Struggle'.

(iii) The Urdu version of the Bhagvat Gita was not presented to General Musharraf at the high tea hosted by Pakistan's High Commissioner in his honour, by the India Prime Minister, because the ruling National Democratic Alliance boycotted the function, which Mr Vajpayee did not attend. It was boycotted because of Pakistan's invitation to the APHC leadership. This shows India's stubborn refusal to accept the APHC as the representative body of Kashmir — and by implication, the centrality of Muslim Kashmiris to the Kashmir issue.

(iv) Some Indian extremist activists have been arrested, who were targeting General Musharraf, revengefully, on the Kargil-Kashmir issue. This goes beyond the security arrangements to ensure the protection and safety of a visiting Head of State and Government. It reflects on the extent of Indian fanaticism, terrorism and militancy —even though General Musharraf repeatedly stressed the need to bury the past.

(v) A few Indian fundamentalists are reported to have tried to wash and purify Mahatma Gandhi's Samadi, after it had been allegedly descrated by President Musharrafs visit. This reflects on the two opposing Hindu-Muslim ideologies, visions, world-views, mindsets and mentalities.

Thus, it is clear from the foregoing, that it is essential to try to comprehend the meaning and message of such symbols, both negative and positive. They should not be taken at their surface value, because they have intentional deeper nuances which need to be read between the lines, as realistically as is possible. In the present case, while the positive symbols are protocolic, the negative ones are more substantive. As such, they need to be heeded seriously.

The Emerging Geo-strategic Scenario: The Indo-Pak Summit has a much broader regional and global geo-strategic context, which is of critical concern to the resolution of all bilateral, regional and global conflictual issues. This context is: (a) The current Sino-Soviet Summit, the result of which is an epochal Treaty of Friendship between the two great Asian nations, to protect themselves against the US globalising expansionist hegemonism, especially the latter's National Missile Defence System. (b) The current US Missile Defence Tests in the Pacific Ocean --which have raised an orchestrated outcry in the world especially by Russia, China and Europe, as symbolised in the Greenpeace and South Korean demonstrations against them. Russia rightly believes that the US Missile Tests menace the ABM Treaty. It will give rise to a New Nuclear Arms Race, and a New Cold War. (c) The devastating escalation of hostilities by Israel against Palestine, at present. The Muslim World is being targeted by its enemies in coordinated convergence. (d) India's growing strategic defence relations with America, its endorsement of the American Strategic Missile Defence System and the American Army Gen Henry Shelton, Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff's visit to India on the eve of the Indo-Pak Summit.

The dates and timing of the above two events are not coincidental. They are well-orchestrated. As such, they are most meaningful and significant.

Now that India and Pakistan have begun to negotiate with each other — hopefully in real earnest — they need to throw in their lot with their Asian great neighbours, Russia and China, and evolve a pacific policy and shared strategy to resolve their differences and disputes, futuristically, for the sake of their present and future generations. The panchshille five principles of peaceful co-existence have perennial value and must be practised a persistently. The world is naturally multipolar — and must be kept as such, today and tomorrow.

Pakistan's Options: President Pervez Musharraf has proved his Pakistani patriotism and nationalism by his principled stand on Kashmir, viz:

(i) The centrality of Kashmir as the core issue.

(ii) The centrality of the Kashmiris and the exercise of their universal democratic right of self-determination, to this core issue.

(iii) Peace and peaceful co-existence as the principal pillar of Pakistani state policy.

If President Pervez Musharraf pursues this policy persistently and consistently, he would be serving Pakistan's abiding national interest at the foreign front, courageously. He would need to match his crystal-clear nationalistic foreign policy with a democratic domestic policy that opts immediately for: (a) Democracy in politics; the first step to which is a Political National Government, and: (b) Self-reliance in economics, as well as in the socio-cultural and educational life of the civil society and the nation, in order to secure nationalistic indigenisation.

Ensuring Continuity: If President Pervez Musharraf pledges himself to the foregoing principles and policy options, he would have earned himself the popular mandate of continuing in political office, in order to secure their continuity and implementation.

Of course, the Kashmir issue will take its time to be resolved — given the continuity of the necessary sincerity of goodwill and commitment on either side. The Indians now say that Pakistan should first implement the first two clauses of the UN Resolutions on Kashmir, and then seek a plebiscite. The said clauses refer to pacification and the withdrawal of troops from Kashmir. It is a matter of common sense that an integrated holistic and composite approach is essential to implement any resolution. Further, there are no Pakistani troops in Indian-held Kashmir — but only Indian troops by the lakhs: six lakhs and more.

The Jehad there is another matter. It is indigenous and Islami in essence, and to the core. No excess of Indian state terrorism, or image tarnishing as alleged Kashmiri-Pakistani cross-border terrorism, would dampen the survival spirit of Jehad of the Mujahideen, or dull the inspiration of the Shuhada and Shahadat. People will continue to fight for sovereign freedom all over the world, despite all odds and opposition, reprisal and repression. Name-calling and curses will not discourage them. They will fight to the finish till freedom is theirs, to have and to keep. General Pervez Musharraf may be one of the most powerful leaders of Pakistan --- or even of the world today. But he does not — and cannot — control the Islami Spirit of Jehad anywhere — on which depends the future of Islam, itself. In fact, General Musharraf s own future and fate lies in Islam — and so does Pakistan's and the rest of the Muslim World's.

Therefore, it is about time that India and the world at large accept, gracefully and pragmatically, Jehad as strategic self-defence for sovereign survival in full freedom, and the exercise of the universal democratic right of self-determination. They will, then, be in a better position to negotiate and cope with Islam and the Muslim world, for the perpetual peace of all of humanity. The only way to end bloodshed is to resolve, peacefully and justly, the causative peace problems and core issues like Kashmir, once and for all. It is Now or 'Never for Kashmir' — as it was for Pakistan during the Pakistan Movement of the days of Chaudhry Rahmat Ali, Allama Muhammad 1qbal and the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, before independence on 14th August, 1947.

What if the Indians have been difficult on the issue of a Joint Declaration? That was to be expected. General Pervez Musharraf's Breakthrough consists in his repeated emphasis on Kashmir as the core issue. He has been completely successful in projecting and promoting the Kashmir cause, and in protecting Pakistan's national interest.

Let us be realistic enough to realise that — unless a miracle happens — Kashmir issue is not likely to be resolved till the US-Indian honeymoon is over. The American interest in Kashmir is only to the extent of occupying a so-called 'Independent Kashmir under the pretext of development, in order to encircle China. America wants to use India against Russia and China, the way it used Pakistan against the late Soviet Union. And then the US will ditch India like it ditched Pakistan. Asia will be a nuclear graveyard by then — God forbid!

The only option for Pakistan is to persist in its present pragmatic foreign policy to serve Pakistan's perennial national interest. That means that the Jehad in Kashmir will continue unabated, till the issue is resolved in favour of the people of Kashmir General Pervez Musharraf is Pakistan's sterling strong man who can deliver. He needs to build a popular political base and team to tame the trying times ahead. The President can do so with his people's mandate on Kashmir With his sterling stand on the issue, he has integrated the nation. This is evident from the consensual support he has received from all the Pakistanis, response to it. Politicians and people, alike have admired his forthright stance, and respect him for it.

This article was published in I am tired of reading to the Pak media's boosting Pakistan.. this article shows the self-centered style of Pakistani media..not recognizing what they did.. what their situation.. living in hypocratic lies. Read it.